Creating the perfect wedding dessert table is a bit more involved than you might think. There's a lot more to it than simply plopping a selection of your favorite treats and a wedding cake onto a banquet table and calling it a day. To help you put together a dessert station that's reflective of the next-level goodies you're serving, we tapped two industry experts for their tips. Take their advice—which includes ideas for everything from treat offerings and tabletop décor to signage and personal touches—and you'll be well on your way to transforming this reception staple into a party highlight.
Provide a broad assortment of goodies.
Jessica Miller of the catering company Feast & Fest recommends serving between three and five options for a well-rounded dessert display. "Try to go for something chocolate, something fruity, something vanilla- or caramel-focused, and something that's not overly sweet," she says. "Even if all of your desserts are the same—for instance, a donut bar—you can still aim for a variety of flavors to satisfy all your guests dessert preferences."
Be strategic with your décor.
Though there's more to a dessert table than just dessert, Miller says it's important to avoid going overboard. "Don't go too over-the-top with extra décor elements, or your station could end up looking cluttered instead of luxurious or decadent," she notes, adding that your delicious fare should be the focal point. To keep it all about the treats, Miller advises getting creative with how you physically present them: "Choose serving platters of different heights and textures to add visual interest—and remember to keep the design of the entire wedding in mind when choosing all dessert station décor."
Consider a backdrop.
"All of that work to create a nice dessert tabletop is moot if the backdrop is an ugly wall," says planner Gretchen Culver of Rocket Science Events. "The backdrop polishes the overall look—plus it draws your guests' attention to the table, which ensures that your desserts will be found and eaten."
Add in fresh florals.
Since your dessert table is ultimately an extension of the rest of your big-day décor, it's important to "tie the station into your overall wedding design," notes Miller. That's where flowers—use the blooms found throughout the rest of your party—come in. Just be sure that any florals used on the dessert table aren't potential hazards, she says: "Some flowers you might want to avoid are hydrangea, lily-of-the-valley, daffodils, and calla lilies."
Include informative signage.
Both Miller and Culver agree that labeled dessert bar signs should be both utilitarian and beautiful. "Just be careful to select legible fonts," adds Miller, since "signage for unusual dessert offerings or multiple flavor selections is a must." Culver says this is especially important for guests with food allergies ("Guests are hesitant to eat unknown food items, so clearly label each dessert and make sure to indicate dietary restrictions").
As for these signs' aesthetic components? "Simple tented cards that correspond with the rest of your day of paper goods are an easy item for your stationer," says Culver. "Or you can up the ante and do signage in frames or include dessert information as part of your backdrop."
Finish off with something personal.
"Try to add an element of yourselves into the display. Desserts that are a family recipe or represent the couple's cultural background are a great touch," notes Miller. "We once had a bride whose family owned a dairy farm—we served the milk from their farm at a cookie station for a personal moment."